The demand for sound control has increased dramatically. More municipalities are establishing regulations, leading builders and developers to take the initiative.

Since I last wrote about sound abatement, the demand for sound control has increased dramatically. More and more municipalities are establishing regulations, and as the demand by the user continues to grow, builders and developers are taking the initiative and including sound abatement systems in the construction process to increase the value of their buildings. This is especially true in apartments and condominiums.

Sound rating values are the result of a combination of components. A single product or system will not produce the desired results. Rather, you must have a “package” that works. This package includes the substrate, underlayment, bonding material, flooring, and the ceiling “systems” below.

Most municipalities request that testing be conducted by independent laboratories that will describe the package used, as well as certify their results, for Impact Insulation Class (IIC) and Sound Transmission Class (STC).

The IIC measures the reduction, from room to room, in noise caused by an object or foot hitting the floor. The STC measures the reduction in airborne noise, i.e. from a television, conversation, or radio.

The 1999 Tile Council of America handbook has accepted into detail RF900-99 a number of ceramic flooring systems for ceramic tile over wood and concrete subfloors. Both thick-bed (mud) and thin-bed (dry-set mortar or latex-Portland cement mortar) systems are included.


Colbond Geosynthetics is a newcomer to the industry, weighing in with Enkatherm, a product that is basically a thinner version of Enkasonic.

The Noble Co., a manufacturer of sheet membrane systems, produces a sound isolation sheet (SIS). SIS is made of chlorinated polyethylene, and at 3/64-inch is one of the thinnest products available.

The Hacker Sound Mat from Hacker Industries Inc. is for use under gypsum poured underlayments, as is Maxxon Corp’s new Acousti-Mat II, a nylon core of fused-entangle filaments. (Note: the major gypsum poured underlayment producers estimate that the use of acoustical mats, currently between 10-15% in all poured floors, will be above 20% in five years.)

N.A.C. Products produces a sound control sheet called SAM, or Sound Abatement Mat, a bitumen-modified sheet.

For use under thin-bed and mortar-bed installations, Kinetics Noise Control has developed a sound barrier called Kinetics SR Floor Board. Cork Sound Control liners are available from the Wicander Corp. and Amorin Industrial Solutions. Homasote, Dodge-Regupol, and General Foam also produce sound abatement products.

There are a number of other manufacturers and providers of sound deadening materials. I apologize to those firms that I have not named. There is no intent on my part to exclude anyone.

As I mentioned before, please refer to the TCA handbook for references as to the use of cleavage and water-proofing membranes, cementitious backer units, polyethylene foam, and rubber sheets. Remember, it is important not to skip the use of acoustical sealant around the perimeters.

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting a sound abatement system. Have the product and system been tested independently? What clearance is required? What is the total square-foot cost of each system? How many parts does the system call for? How labor intensive and time consuming will the installation be? What is the long-term effect on tile and marble bonds?

I must point out that those who have a copy of the 1999 TCA handbook that in the original printing, a number of typographical errors occurred. In particular, detail RF919-99 is incorrect. A correction sheet has since been distributed. The correct detail is available from the TCA.